Remembering Dad…

When my Dad passed away a few months ago I wanted to write a tribute to honor him.

I wanted to share just how special he truly was.

Every night when I’d lay my head down, the words (and tears) would flow.

I never wrote them down, the feelings were still too tender.

The other night, I had a dream about him that was so real I didn’t want to wake up.

I still miss him!

I grew up in the middle of a family of 7 living in a small 900 square foot house.

What the home lacked in size, we made up for with love.  

This past month, we  started the tedious task of sorting through all of the “memories”

and stuff stored in our childhood home for the past 58 years.

As challenging as it feels,

we always stop, share and get excited by the little treasures that we find.  

This home holds a lot of memories.

My Dad was a hard-working man…

he worked on the railroad as a Switchman for over 40 years.

Recently he told me that on his last day of work he was supposed to turn in his switchman key.

He decided to keep it for a souvenir.

He kept it in his pocket as a keychain for the next 21 years.

Growing up in a house with 4 girls (and one boy) we did a lot of “girl” things with Mom.

As we grew older it was not uncommon for us to be shopping with Mom, talking

on the phone, having lunch out, going to the movies.  Having a Girls Night.

It wasn’t until after my Mom died, when Dad started coming over regularly for dinner

that our real closeness happened.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved my Dad,

I just never really had one on one time with him until then.  Mom was always there.

During those years, Dad and I had our shows that we watched together (a lot of NCIS)

and when my husband was out of town he’d take me to dinner.

I’d never had a father/daughter date.

My Dad was a man of faith.  He believed with his whole heart.

Being a quiet man…it took me a little off guard, when during his

cancer struggles last year, he became very vocal in his faith.

I never tried to stop him, but I must admit I squirmed a bit at times.

During one of his visits to the University Hospital he was attended by a new doctor.

As the appointment was ending, I was sitting there thinking to myself.

Hmmm…he’s not going to do it.

As the doctor was leaving, his hand on the door, he looked over and said…

“you look like you have a question to ask.”

Dad smiled and said “Do you know Jesus?”

At times, it was apparent he made some feel uncomfortable…

while others told us how wonderful and sweet he was.

Some even told us he made a difference in their life.

I had to remind Dad often he was planting seeds.

He felt like over the last year… with all the many doctors, nurses and

technicians that he met, during the course of 3 surgeries and radiation,

that it was his mission to spread the word.

In his last month of life, after a bad fall,

he spent 2 weeks in the hospital and one in a nursing home.

While none of us were totally prepared, he gave us 3 weeks to say good-bye.

He told me not long before his fall…”I’m 86, I won’t be here forever”.

“When I die, you will grieve for a while,

then I want you to be happy, because I will be happy”.

On the night that he died, when he took his last breath,

he opened his eyes, a smile on his face and a tear in his eye.

I believe he is happy.

14 thoughts on “Remembering Dad…

  1. Jennifer Woodward says:

    Sue, your tribute is so lovely! You can feel your father smiling down from heaven. His pride and love in his family is apparent. Your tribute touched my heart, especially since you and I shared very, very similar childhoods, home and family. I too am from a family of 7, 4 girls and 1 boy, our houses we grew up in are nearly identical, my dad died of cancer. He worked for the railroad for his entire adult life after returning from WWII. He too was a man of God.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely tribute to your father. You put into words your feeling, memories and thoughts that have not been able to write.

    Sending you hugs and enjoy those memories and smile…because your dad is smiling too. xoxoxo

  2. Bev Ruck says:

    Sue, this was so lovely. I was an only daughter, and soo close to my dad. I especially loved working out in the barn and doing chores with him. This brought back many memories. God Bless. 🙏

  3. Anelsie Ramos says:

    What a beautiful story! I enjoyed reading this so much, thanks for sharing!
    I lost my father unexpectedly 3 years ago at 68 years old so I can relate to your feelings and thoughts. This brought back so many wonderful and happy memories!
    Hugs from Puerto Rico!

  4. Daren Summers says:

    I loved your Dad too! One of my fondest memories as a boy, was when our families went to 6 flags together. I always ne him as my Uncle John, even though we were cousins. I always made a point to share time with him at our family reunions. He always wanted me to reach out to my daughter, and asked me every year if I had done so yet, and my response was always “no”, Disappointment was apparent in his eyes. Well, I’ve finally broken the barrier there, and have a date with my daughter coming up very soon. I wish your dad was here so I could tell him, and see his eyes sparkle, as mine are now! Thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts with us!

  5. Deb says:

    That was just so beautiful! I’m sorry for your loss & celebrate what you gained with your father before his passing! That had to be difficult to express but at the same time there had to be a bit of a smile as you thought over the many memories you had and shared. Much love and many hugs to you and most of all I thank you for sharing such a touching story!

    • seldred2 says:

      Thank you, he was a special man. I was lucky to be able to develop such a close bond. The older I get the more I’m beginning to be like him. (And that’s ok with me)

  6. Susan Bentz says:

    He sounds like a wonderful man. Your tribute brought back warm memories of my own father as it sounds like they were both cut from the same cloth. I believe they are both happy. Enjoy the treasures you uncover!

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